Verdict Is In on Avalon

Having a cable network dedicated to covering trial proceedings requires an archive system that can easily and quickly draw from a library of material that, more often than not, consists of a person on a witness stand with a microphone.

It also leads to a vast library of content that could leave much un-used testimony footage taking up valuable server space. With the help of A.F. Associates and Concadia Solutions, Court TV installed an archive and automation system that more easily moved content from the front office to the back office. The archive is based on an Avalonidm (intelligent data management) system running on a Sun V880 server.

Archive requests are made to the Avalon system from a Sundance automation system. "Both the archive and high-resolution digital video contained in the servers are managed by the Avalon system," says Michael Wilke, director of marketing and channels, Avalon Product Division.

According to Wilke, Avalon's policy engine automatically deletes from the disk cache content files that are not accessed for a user-specified time period. All the files are eventually stored long-term on data tape.

Whenever files are sent to the archive, the Court TV system also copies the files to a Dell Power Edge running Telestream's Flip Factory, which creates a 1.5-MB MPEG-1 file with embedded frame-accurate time-code that is sent back to the array. "These proxies can be accessed across Court TV's wide-area network from a standard Windows PC or Macintosh computer," Wilke says.

Concadia also tied the asset-management system into the editorial department to expedite the flow of station promos to air. Flip Factory allows editors working on the Avid Unity system to take files and post them in a hot folder.

"Flip Factory grabs those files, converts them and puts them onto the Grass Valley Profile play-to-air servers," explains Wilke. "This allows promos to be cut and sent straight to air without having to go to the intermediate stage of recording to tape and sending that tape to playout."